Richie awoke with a start to the violent shriek of his alarm telling him it was time to get up and do very little for another day.
He didn't know why he bothered to set the damned thing beyond feeling an uncomfortable sense of inherited guilt if he didn't get out of bed before 2pm. He had meant to unset it last night, or this morning, or whatever time he got home, but he'd been distracted.
Reaching across the sleeping bodies in his bed, he found his phone to silence the noise. The sleeping bodies remained asleep, breathing steadily, not so much as shifting or stirring in response to the alarm or his movements.
He squinted and stared at each of them in turn, trying to piece together the night before and remember their names, or anything about them. They looked pretty good. He had amazing taste in people, even when he was so high he couldn't spell his own name.
He had hoped Aaron would have been one of the occupants of his bed last night, but Aaron had vanished from the club with some shifty-looking dealer shortly before kicking out time, leaving Richie with his pick of the rest. He had picked well. It was a talent he had been blessed with and a skill he had spent years cultivating.
Leaning back against his pillows and impatiently waiting for the room to stop spinning, he couldn't shake the feeling that he was supposed to be on some sort of mission today...going somewhere, doing something, meeting someone. He frowned, and with the small movement of his forehead, the world shifted to turn on a slightly different axis.
There were still lines of something on the glass table, which made him think that whatever he and the people in his bed got up to at whatever time they got home, they had demonstrated a remarkable level of restraint to have not finished all the drugs. He eyed the lines for a moment, considering, then thought better of it. He needed coffee.
"The car! Fuck, the fucking car!"
One of the sleeping bodies became slightly less asleep at the sound of his voice. She rolled over, stretched, and asked, "What fucking car?"
"I need to pick my car up from the garage. I forgot. And hi. Good morning. It's nice to see you. Would you like some coffee?"
The very pretty face attached to the no-longer-sleeping body yawned as her hand emerged from beneath the covers to reach for a bottle of water on the floor next to the bed. "Do you remember my name?"
"Honestly, no," Richie admitted. "I'm terribly sorry. I suppose that makes me a bad host. To be fair, I don't remember his name either, so please don't take it personally. I have a dreadful memory for names."
"I'm Mhairi and I'm pretty sure that's Lucas. Or Luka. Maybe Luke. Something like that. OK, I suck at names too." She shrugged and smiled. "Coffee would be fucking amazing though. This is going to sound awful, but where exactly are we? I sort of remember getting a taxi outside Revolver last night but I have no idea where to."
Richie grinned, pleasantly surprised to rediscover this kindred spirit in his bed. "Leith. And I'm Richie, in case you didn't remember but felt too awkward to ask."
"We're in Leith? Richie, whose name I totally did not remember until you just said that, do you live here? In Leith? Why?"
"Judgy, much? Yes, I live here. This is my flat, at the Shore. It's actually really fucking nice and I resent the assumption that everywhere in Leith is the same. There are good bits of Leith. This is one of them."
"There is a good bit of Leith and this is it. OK, if the coffee's completely fantastic you'll be forgiven for the fact that I will now have to travel through the other bits of Leith to get home."
"Leith's fine. Not everyone can afford their own flat off fucking George Street. Stop being such a stuck-up bitch, Mhairi." The muffled insult came from the other body in the bed. "And it's Lucas. You were right the first time."
"Oh my god, I chose to live here! It's a penthouse, if you want to get all elitist about it, and I actually like it. I like the sea and the architecture and the view and not being right in the centre of town and why am I even justifying my choices to either of you?" Richie shook his head.
"I don't know. Never justify anything to anyone. Just keep on being beautiful," replied Lucas. "Also did I hear you mentioning coffee? Cause coffee would be really good."
"Fine, coffee will soon be on the way." Richie squinted at his phone, then made a call, placing an order.
"Oh my god, did you literally just phone someone for coffee?" asked Mhairi, rolling her eyes.
"Yeah, I have an account with the cafe downstairs. And I'm not sure I like you anymore," replied Richie, nudging Mhairi with his shoulder.
Mhairi stuck out her tongue. "Yeah you do. You like both of us."
"Fair enough. I suppose you must have some redeeming features or you wouldn't still be here this morning. Like getting a taxi to George Street later and letting me out at the bottom of Leith Walk so I can pick my car up from the garage. That would be a redeeming feature you could have."
"You get your car fixed here? What the—" Mhairi was cut short when a pillow, expertly aimed by Lucas, hit her in the back of the head.
"You," interjected Lucas, "are a very unpleasant guest. No manners at all. Did I even have a conversation with you last night, beyond discovering that you lived off George Street, which I have no idea why I remember? Because I feel like if I did, and you were being like that, I might not have done whatever I probably did with you when we got back here."
Mhairi sighed. "I'm not unpleasant. I'm just tired and hungover and trying to fight the desire to shove the rest of that white powder over there up my nose to make waiting for coffee slightly more bearable. OK, I'm sorry I said mean things about where Richie lives and about the borderline slum where he gets his car fixed. Does that hold back the tide of regret at all, Lucas?"
"I regret nothing," Lucas replied. "Life's too short for regret. It's all just experience, right Richie?"
"Absolutely." Richie nodded emphatically. "Seize the day and all that."
"Like your tattoo?" asked Mhairi, motioning with a tilt of her head towards the words carpe diem inked across Richie's chest in ostentatious black script.
"Sort of. I'd like to pretend that was a deeply meaningful choice of body art, but really I just got it cause I lost a bet. This one too," Richie said, as he lifted his hair to reveal a small, green four-leaf clover tattooed on his neck behind his left ear.
"Any mods you genuinely wanted, or are they all the results of misfortune?" asked Mhairi.
"All the results of misfortune, even the tongue piercing. Although I'm told that one's quite fortunate for anyone on the receiving end," replied Richie, as he slid out of bed, grabbing last night's trousers on his way and pulling them on as he wandered across the flat to unlock the door.
"Where are you going?" asked Lucas.
"The cafe has the entry code for downstairs and someone'll bring the coffee up when they get here."
"How often do you do this?" Mhairi enquired.
"How often this week, or..?" asked Richie playfully, opening the front door of the flat just as the delivery person was about to knock, eyes preemptively averted, suggesting that Richie did this quite often, actually.
YOU ARE READING
Car ThievesScience Fiction
The year 2027. Edinburgh, Scotland. Disease has swept a deadly path through society. A nightlife mogul with a violent past, a sadistic drug dealer, an artist craving companionship, a privileged playboy and a fiercely independent motor mechanic strug...